How to get a sale, repeat business or referrals from clients and prospects you have met in person? Let’s say you meet people at a tradeshow or they visit your location and buy something or maybe they don’t, or maybe you want to stay in touch with people you have given a quote to…

What’s the best way to get people to remember you? How do companies keep their name in peoples’ minds after they have left?

If you want to keep customers active and buying from you again and again or referring their friends to you repeatedly, the best approach is to have a good email follow-up (automated) sequence.  You can set up a weekly (minimum) sequence for a year and keep repeating it in many cases.  In addition to the weekly contact, you can send additional emails for specials and promotions and fun stuff.

It would be good to support email follow-ups with Facebook ads to your email list.  Don’t be boring.  Put some effort into it and be creative with each medium.

In every contact with your “warm” list, be friendly, be entertaining, be informative, do contests and giveaways… ​and also talk about your business from time to time.

Additionally, try to get them to follow you on Twitter and Instagram.  Tumblr is also developing into an influential platform.  Pinterest is especially good to keep in touch with women clients.  LinkedIn is also good or it might be the best one, depending on your target market.

At 1st on the List, we believe that the best idea is to show up where your customers are and be likable.  Every business owner/business has a different personality so there is a lot of flexibility in what you end up doing exactly.

You can hire someone to do this type of networking / socializing.  Costs will vary depending on what level of service you want.  If you just want someone to socialize, you can hire someone for a few hundred dollars a month.  If you want someone to socialize and generate leads, it will cost you roughly double of the socializer.

When you want to generate leads for repeat sales or sales from prospects who have visited you, spend more time making friends and being friendly than selling.  There’s a way to bring up business when you are socializing so people love to do business with you.  No one likes a person who is always just talking about their own business.  ​​

Handing out freebies like t-shirts and coffee mugs can be part of the matrix, but by itself, it won’t be enough to generate business.  Better to keep that money in your pocket.  If you want to generate business, start with email, grow into social media and use the giveaways as one part of an overall, planned campaign.

If you still have questions about getting more sales to your business or you would like more information, please call our Marketing experts here at 1st on the List at 1-888-262-6687.

Why update WordPress plugins is a very common question…more common than you might think.

Keep in mind, however, that WordPress themes and plugins are software programs. Over time, these programs can become outdated, or the software developer may have released newer updated versions with better features or even bug fixes. So, the main answer to “why update WordPress plugins” is to help keep your WordPress website up-to-date and working optimally.

One of the selling features of developing a website in WordPress is there is pretty much a plugin for everything and anything you might want to do on your website.

That’s what makes WordPress web design so powerful and popular. In fact, according to whoishostingthis.com, WordPress powers almost 15% of the top 100 websites in the world. That’s big brands trusting WordPress to get the job done. But it’s more than the big guys using WordPress. In fact, according to w3techs:

  • 32% of all websites in the world are run on WordPress
  • WordPress is the most used CMS system
  • With 59.4% market share, WordPress is far ahead of any other CMS system (by comparison, #2 is Joomla with 6% market share)

Why is WordPress so popular?

Another great answer to “why update WordPress plugins” is that WordPress is open source software. It’s free. And, some of the greatest minds work openly to create seamless and useful website functions, which we know as plugins. This helps web developers and designers code and create websites more efficiently and effectively.

What is a plugin?

Most WordPress websites are compiled of a group of functions that are pre-programmed for functionality and integrate seamlessly into the WordPress platform. WordPress plugins are pre-built software solutions that can save web developers a lot of time and money when programming their own solutions.

There really is a plugin for almost everything, from SEO tools to rotating banners and from image resizing to pop-up messages. If you can dream it, there’s likely someone who has already built a WordPress plugin solution.

Here are a few other reasons why updating WordPress plugins is necessary.

Proliferation – The WordPress Plugin Directory currently lists over 56,365 plugins (and growing) with over 1.3 billion downloads.

Too Many Plugins – Overuse of plugins can slow down a website. Plugins can also clash with each other, which could then cause problems with your website that might be difficult to assess.

Stale or Outdated – Some WordPress plugins are completely useless and others no longer function as they should or are now obsolete.

Nevertheless, if you need something for your website, chances are there’s already a plugin for that.

Web developers are also continually challenged to answer this important question: “When to use and when not to use a plugin?” The key to using plugins effectively is to only select plugins from verified sources and only install them if they solve or serve an essential function that isn’t already a part of your framework.

Keep Up with the Changing WordPress Platform

From security and bug fixes to enhancements and improved speed, every WordPress update is released to help your website function better.

Your website sits static in its hosted environment. Meanwhile, the Internet and programming languages are constantly evolving. As well, hackers are consistently finding new vulnerabilities. WordPress plugin updates are released in an effort to keep up with the improvements and bug fixes.

As of March 12, 2019, WordPress was running version 5.1.1. By the time you read this, this number will most likely have changed. WordPress is constantly releasing new updated versions in an effort to ensure functionality and security.

Ensure Regular Backups of Your Website

Change is another reason “why update WordPress plugins” should be a mantra.

When you make any sort of update or change on a website, anything can happen. Even with the best-laid plans, sometimes updates or plugins are incompatible with other functions, even unrelated functions of the website. This is why it is important to ensure regular website backups.

There are plugins for website backup protocol! Popular solutions include:

  • iThemes Backup Buddy
  • UpdraftPlus
  • Vault Press.

With the ability to run daily or weekly site backups, you’ll be thankful you have a recent backup to revert to should you ever get hacked or run into a major problem.

Use a Security Plugin To Protect Your Website

According to Sucuri, WordPress is the world’s most hacked CMS system and 61% of infected websites are running an out-of-date version of WordPress. Meanwhile, 52% of the vulnerabilities reported are coming from incompatible or outdated plugins, as reported by WPScan. Why update WordPress plugins indeed!

Common and popular WordPress plugins that are often a gateway for hackers include:

  • Gravity Forms
  • Revslider
  • TimThumb

In order to protect your website from potential vulnerabilities and hackers, you need to ensure your website is secure. While ensuring you are up-to-date on WordPress plugin updates is a great start to ensure your security, you can do more to protect your website. Popular security plugins include:

  • iThemes Security Pro
  • WordFense Pro
  • Sucuri

Update Your WordPress Theme

Themes are another reason why update WordPress plugins are important. Most WordPress websites use a theme to ensure consistency in look, feel and function. A theme is akin to a skin. A theme provides more control over the look and presentation of a website, without having to make constant custom updates.

Many WordPress themes have a variety of features, customizations, and functions already embedded within the theme. WordPress themes can be updated to improve security, reduce vulnerability, and add features and functions. If your chosen theme has a new update, it’s important to listen and act accordingly. If you fail to stay up-to-date on plugin updates, it can cause website problems down the line.

Update Your Plugins Regularly

As is the case with the WordPress platform and themes, plugins can also have updated versions. Most plugin creators continue to add new features, improve code, enhance quality and reduce vulnerabilities. These changes are released as updates. It is important to ensure your plugins are up-to-date so your site can benefit from these updates immediately.

Solving Plugin Incompatibility Issues

Plugins…the very thing that makes WordPress so great can also cause major issues! Because there are so many plugins available from third-party developers, it is common to run into compatibility issues.

  • Some plugins are not compatible with updated versions of WordPress
  • Other plugins will have issues working in tandem with other plugins.

How do compatibility issues arise? Well, different plugins might be trying to do the same thing on the website, or they might be trying to change or update a feature or element but in different ways. Plugins may also have been developed based on a past version of WordPress. Finally, a common reason for compatibility issues is when a plugin was created with bad or buggy code.

Generally, somebody else will have already discovered the compatibility issue and will have made a note of it or offered a possible solution. So, before you install or update a plugin, it is wise to search for any known issues.

What does a compatibility error look like? Well, it can be anything from broken functionality to something less obvious. In fact, sometimes you might not even realize the issue because it will manifest in a way you are not expecting or looking for. This is why it is important to test and do a thorough run through of your website whenever you perform a WordPress or plugin update.

Only Keep Plugins That You Are Using

Keeping your website clean – another reason why update WordPress plugins help. You can help prevent future problems and vulnerabilities. Often, plugins are left active or installed on a website even if they are not being used. They are then forgotten and left abandoned and vulnerable to hackers, or they can cause other issues within the website.

Regularly perform a plugin audit and disable any plugins that you are no longer using.

How to Update, Maintain & Secure Your WordPress Website

You can find out more about this topic by reading this Guide to Updating WordPress Plugins courtesy of SitePoint. Now that we’ve outlined why it is important to ensure your WordPress platform, theme and plugins are up-to-date, maintained, and secure, it’s now time to discuss how to do this properly.

When you log in to WordPress you may see a message alerting you to a core WordPress update or plugins that have available updates.

If you are an experienced web developer you shouldn’t have any issues making the updates; however, if you are a website user, you should have your web developer make the updates for you so you can try and avoid any issues that might be caused. GitHub is a community that is great for feedback, so posting here can help save you time and avoid issues.

But, guess what? As you might suspect; there are plugins for this, too. Site Push, Theme Check, Sandbox and Plugin Detective can help you before you run into big problems.

If you run into an incompatibility issue you’ll likely want to take your website to a staging server and deactivate every plugin. Then, one-by-one, reactivate them until you can source the plugin causing the issue.

If you decide to run updates yourself and run into an issue, this can cause further issues down the line. The best practice when it comes to website maintenance is to let the professionals handle it.

The Importance of Regular Website Maintenance Plans

Years ago, when most businesses got their first website there was a mindset of “set and forget.” In other words, you had your website built for you, the content was static and you didn’t really have to think about it again unless you wanted to make a change. It was likely built and coded in a custom environment and likely lacked complexity and functionality. In other words, there was no need for website maintenance, except if there was something you specifically requested.

With the advent of content management systems such as WordPress, updating your own website got a lot simpler; however, vulnerabilities opened up. Functionalities increased and websites got better; however, with one update you can cause serious issues.

It’s important to have a long-term site maintenance plan. While the most obvious risk to your website is a site hack, there are other problems that can arise if you fail to, or wait too long to make updates.

From improved functionality to increased speed, regular site maintenance plans are designed to ensure optimal user experience. A regularly-maintained and updated website helps search engine rankings, helps with speed, improves usability, protects your brand, and can even increase customer retention and conversion.

Unfortunately, your website is at risk. Wordfence reports there are up to 90,000 attacks on WordPress websites every minute. Even non-WordPress sites are just as susceptible to a hack.

Functionalities can Change, Break and Evolve

Think of your website as a car. With regular use, your car needs regular maintenance including gas, oil changes, tire alignments, etc. Think about modern-day cars and the vast speed of new technology that has become available in recent years. The same is true for websites. Today’s websites are complex with a variety of moving parts, much like a car. Even elements that do not seem to be integrated with each other, can be connected in some way.

Just like you take your car to a mechanic, it’s important that your website has a professional team looking out for it.

Maintenance plans generally include things such as ensuring the hosting environment is optimal or updating themes and plugins. Larger, more complex websites often have a custom, hands-on approach to maintenance that involves a lot of testing when things are updated.

Generally speaking, the more complicated your website the more regular maintenance that will be needed.

Here’s the thing. You could wait for your website to break before you realize it needs to be maintained, or you can pre-empt disaster and get a handle on a proper maintenance plan now. Back to our car analogy: regular oil changes end up far less expensive in the long run than replacing your entire engine because you failed to maintain your oil.

About 1st on the List

1st on the List is more than just an SEO company. We can help you understand “why update WordPress plugins” is a question that needs to be addressed, continually. We offer website maintenance plans to ensure your website is running at optimal levels because we know that a well-running, functional website helps with SEO and lead generation.

Trust your website maintenance to the professionals so you can focus on your business without any risky technical interruptions.

Did you know? It’s because of services like our WordPress Maintenance and Security Plans that we are recognized as a top E-Commerce Design & Development Company on DesignRush.

For more information, call us toll-free at 1-888-262-6687.

When done properly, great landing pages that convert can really add to your ROI.

The object of any landing page is to provide a clear and complete path to a decision, whether that is a download, a purchase, a request for more information, or some other clearly defined call-to-action.

SEO, pay-per-click marketing, and other online forms of generating traffic are designed to direct more visitors to a website. With a good SEO strategy and excellent content based on user-intent, you can grow your targeted traffic. However, getting them to the website is only half the battle. What they do once they arrive is what really counts. Getting traffic to your website is great but if it doesn’t convert, what’s the point?

Whether you call it conversions or lead generation, landing pages that convert are the holy grail of a full SEO or digital marketing strategy.

What is a Landing Page?

By easy definition, a landing page is any page that a visitor lands on from any form of advertising or search engines. So, any page within your website might be the very first page a visitor lands on when they visit your website. This could be your homepage, a sub-page, or even a blog article.

With this in mind, it’s important that you evaluate your entire website to create landing pages that convert. Each page within your site should be a good representation of your brand and should have a clear path for what you want the user to do next.

That being said, many digital marketing companies will encourage you to invest in “landing pages.” These are specific pages designed to match a campaign and user intent.

Some online marketing professionals insist that landing pages that convert must have a form. Others will argue there just needs to be a clear call to action or next step.

Ideally, a landing page is a page with a clearly defined target audience based on a specific topic, usually decided based on a user query. The user is then provided only the information they need to make an informed decision, be it a purchase, a form fill-out, newsletter signup, a content download, or even an offline visit.

Identifying Landing Page Topics

The first step in gaining traffic that converts is to figure out a visitor’s intent and then create content that is a good match. SEO keyword research is a great place to start. You’ll likely narrow down to a variety of keyword queries that will give you a fairly good idea on user intent. From there, you can create landing pages that match the target queries.

  • If you’re a real estate agent in San Diego, you might find you could use landing pages that convert for San Diego ocean view condos.
  • If you run an accounting company, you might find you could use a landing page for 2019 tax deduction tips.

In other words, you are identifying the demand for your product or service and then you’re going to use your landing page to reel them in.

Before you write a sentence of copy, you need to have a clearly defined message for your clearly defined target audience.

Landing Pages that Convert have Clear Calls-to-Action

What do you want your visitor to do? Be clear. Your general website is the backbone of your online presence. It’s where people might go to to learn more about your company and your services. It’s where you can be different things to different people.

Your landing pages? They have one important job to do. They need to capture the attention of the visitor. Since you’ve already identified the target audience and their user intent, you need to clearly articulate the next step.

Common calls to action include Buy Now, Download, Contact Us, Sign Up, Try It, etc. Don’t distract your landing page visitor with a variety of messages. Make it easy for them to take the next step.

Help The Visitor Along

In a perfect world, a person types in a query and clicks on your ad or organic listing and lands on landing pages that convert right away. Well, unfortunately, the world isn’t perfect and this is a rare occurrence.

You have to work a little bit to help the visitor along your path to conversion. This is where content comes in.

Ideally, you will have a combination of three forms of content.

  1. Text
  2. Images
  3. And video

Each piece of content should be able to stand on its own, but also compliment the other forms. In other words, you aren’t going to say the same thing, word-for-word in a video that you have in text on your page. After all, there needs to be a reason for the visitor to watch your video.

Having some social proof can also be an important element in landing page content. This is a testimonial or two depicting how your product or service has helped someone to solve whatever it was they came to your website looking for.

So, in order to help the visitor along so they feel comfortable forging a relationship with you, you need to provide them with the answers to their questions, the information they’re looking for, and a hook they simply cannot resist.

Keep It Simple

It’s important to ensure you do not overcomplicate your landing page. More often than not, landing pages that convert are clean, simple, and easy to understand.

This means you have one clear message. Everything that is on that page must relate to that message and must help lead the visitor further down the path to a conversion. Limit the content that doesn’t serve your main goal: moving the visitor down the conversion funnel.

Don’t complicate the page with a variety of messages and calls to action.

If you can, keep your navigation simple. After all, you don’t really want them leaving the page to get lost within your full website. You don’t need to offer them all the information about your company. Eliminate almost any click that isn’t your call-to-action.

Use your brand guidelines, fonts, logo, etc., so that the visitor starts to establish a relationship with your brand; however, keep it as simple as you can.

Important Elements of Landing Pages that Convert

Landing pages that convert generally have a few important elements in common.

1. A Really Great Headline
The job of your headline is to reinforce the visitor’s query while enticing them to stay on your website. You have a second for the user to decide if your page will help them. Your headline needs to help solve their query, look professional, and be catchy enough that they want to scroll a little bit more, rather than hit the back button. It has to capture their attention, their interest, and compels them to learn more about your offering.

2. A Really Great Subheading

The main headline piqued a visitor’s interest so now it’s up to the sub-heading to go in for the kill. Normally the sub-heading is positioned directly below the headline to act as the two in a one-two punch.

3. Enticing Visuals

Visual storytelling helps to sell. Any images you use on your website need to be clear, beautiful, and help inspire your visitor to action. Do you have a video that can help reinforce your message? Many visitors look to video to help them in their decision making.

4. A Benefit (pleasure) Statement

Articulate the main key benefit the visitor will get for completing whatever it is you are asking them to do. If you can use a feeling of pleasure within the copy, you can best play upon their emotions.

5. A Reinforcement (pain) Statement

Does your product or service solve a pain point? Now is the time to remind them of this pain and reinforce how your product or service will solve their problem.

6. Legitimize Your Business – Part 1 – Contact Details

Landing page visitors will look to ensure you are a real business and they will do this by looking for your contact details. Having your address, phone number and email address on your page’s footer is an easy way to show the world that you are real. You can go even further by having a link to your about page.

7. Legitimize Your Business – Part 2 – Social Proof

By showing satisfied past clients, you are providing social proof that your business, product or service is legitimate. Many web visitors are wise to testimonials, so use legitimate reviews cited from third party websites.

8. The Offer
What are you offering the visitor? What are you offering in exchange for the visitor completing the action? Keep it clear.

9. The Value Proposition

What’s in it for the visitor? Just like the offer, you need to keep the value proposition clear and simple. Outline the benefits. This is where you need to talk directly to your visitors about your visitors’ needs, not about you.  

10. A Guarantee or Way Out

Want to catch a visitor in a moment of spontaneity or weakness? Offer them a way out. A website visitor is more apt to take the plunge when they know there is a safety net to catch them. A guarantee or unsubscribe at any time statement allows them to know they are not locked into their decision.

11. Simple Form

Did you know that the more fields you have in a form the lower your click-through-rate will be? Only ask for the information that you absolutely need at that moment. You can obtain other information at a later time.

12. A Powerful Call To Action
Ok! So you’ve hooked them and reeled them in. Now you need to seal the deal before they get cold feet. This is where your call to action comes in. What is the one thing you most want them to do? Make it big and bold. Make it unmissable. Make sure it stands out.

Let’s Talk About Layout

Many web designers create website pages on very big monitors. They’ve accounted for plenty of ‘white space’ and are able to design very stunning pages. But, did you know that the average screen size is 1024×768? Yes, that’s a typical laptop screen. Plus, more and more Internet users are conducting searches on their mobile phones. So, while a page might look great on the web designer’s screen, how it looks and acts on a laptop and phone is far more important.

Landing pages that convert well are also very responsive. This means the content and images adapt to fit the browser size of the visitor. This allows for the page to look and function great on any device.

How the site responds to the various screen sizes should be planned out. Often, items will simply begin to stack on a mobile device which can account for an awful lot of scrolling. Is the same information necessary to a phone visitor as it might be to a desktop visitor? Is there a visual indication to keep scrolling? These are all important question that needs to be asked. The most important elements of the page should be front and centre regardless of the device!

A/B Testing

It goes without saying that you will test your landing page links and form. What we’re talking about is A/B Testing. This means delivering variations of headlines, copy, images, colours, etc. to different users to determine which combination of elements gets the best click-through rate.

After all, for all the good design rules and how-to’s out there, it can be difficult to predict what will actually resonate with the majority of visitors.

The rule of A/B Testing is to test one element at a time so you can effectively make a determination of the winner. Colour, call-to-action wording, call to action location, etc. are all things that can benefit from A/B testing.

In Conclusion

The best landing pages that convert are the ones that were planned and designed with the user in mind. Once you decide what action you want them to take, you can guide, persuade, and convince them to do it. If you make it clear and simple, most people will do what you ask them to.

1st on the List is one of North America’s leading SEO companies that also offers SEO website design. To speak with one of our SEO experts, please Email or call us at 1-888-262-6687.

 

You might also find Neil Patel’s article interesting entitled, The Definitive Guide to Creating High Converting Landing Pages.

1st on the List – 2019 Top Canada Web Developer

1st on the List is proud to have been named on the Design Rush List of 2019 Top Canada Web Developers.

Design Rush is a trusted B2B marketplace, an online source for advising businesses on how to find the top digital agencies, web development companies, and SEO firms.  It’s a great resource for businesses who are in need of digital marketing services because it showcases the best-of-the-best and outlines each agency’s strengths and services.

Our passion here at 1st on the List is to help get your company’s name to the top of the list on Google. Our experienced SEO experts have been doing SEO longer than Google has been around! Not many can boast that accolade! Each member of our core staff has over 10-years experience in SEO and has serviced hundreds of SEO clients across North America, in a diverse range of markets and industries.

Today, we see many digital and web agencies outsourcing their SEO efforts, which doesn’t always provide a cohesive integrated strategy. Our focus has always been SEO and that includes SEO web design and development. We love the complexity, the shifting trends, and the evolving techniques of SEO. When it comes to web design, SEO isn’t an add-on for us. It’s what we do.

Top, professional SEO firms have the skills and experience to make big strides in the digital landscape. For businesses that are seeking to start or expand their digital strategy in 2019, who you select to partner with can be as important (if not more important) than the actual strategy. This is because your SEO professional will guide and lead the strategy based on experience and trends, alongside what’s happening in your industry now and what’s predicted to be the future of search tomorrow.

The Importance of Our Design Rush Recognition

Who doesn’t like to be recognized for a job well done? While awards aren’t everything, when we get recognized for something there is an audible buzz in the office that acts as a spark of energy. It’s the proverbial pat on the back.

Our team at 1st on the List works hard every single day to ensure our clients are getting the results they deserve. The results that drive us forward. They motivate us to continue to strive for more. Our client’s words of thanks are recognitions enough…being recognized by a leading B2B marketing agency like Design Rush is just icing on the thank-you cake. It is further proof that our experience, hard work, knowledge, and results continue to propel us forward as one of the top SEO agencies and web development agencies in Canada.

Recognition feels great!

Recognition Can Fuel Business

We get a lot of business based solely on our results and referrals. Someone will call up saying, “Oh, we saw you did the website design (or SEO) for such-n-such-business. Can you get do that for us too?” Our clients also will recommend us to other businesses they know.

We also get business from our own SEO results. After all, we specialize in SEO and ranking well on the search engines is part of the process.

But, for many business owners, they require more information to make the decision. They begin to compare companies and, if you’ve ever done so yourself, you’ll quickly realize it can be like comparing apples to oranges.

That’s why we love B2B marketing agencies such as Design Rush. They make it easier for businesses to sift through the various digital firms in order to narrow down who might be the best fit for them.

How to Use the Design Rush List?

Hiring Local?

Do you need to hire a local digital agency? No. Some businesses like the ability to walk into an office for face-to-face meetings. That’s a nice perk; however, with communication tools such as Skype and screen sharing, hiring a local digital agency isn’t necessary. Local doesn’t always mean better or right for you.

Experience?

Should you select the digital agency with the most years of experience? Maybe. Experience counts for a lot. The innate knowledge that comes from having done something for a long time is invaluable. But, being able to rely on experience while staying up on the trends is even more important.

Industries Served?

Should you select a digital agency that specializes in your market? Maybe. Some digital agencies have found their niche and have honed their specialization to serve it. That means they are very well-versed in that industry. It might also mean they’re doing the SEO work for your competition. That’s not a deal breaker and in some circumstances can even be a benefit. But, just because an agency has a unique specialization doesn’t mean they are the best.

Reviews?

Should you select a digital agency based on their client reviews? Yes. Client reviews can provide a benchmark for how an agency services their clientele. Are they timely? Do they produce results? Do they communicate well? Are projects managed well? You can learn a lot about an agency based on what others who have worked with them have to say.

Results?

Should you select a digital agency based on their results? Absolutely. An agency that has an extensive results-oriented portfolio means they are properly positioned to do the same for your business.

Industry Awards?

Should you select a digital agency based on industry awards?  Maybe. Industry awards can help you narrow down which agencies are best for you. They act as a seal of approval for tried and tested services.

Ultimately, at 1st on the List, we like our results to speak for themselves. We’ve been helping businesses get to the “top of the list” since before there was even a search engine called Google. We have experience in a multitude of industries, targeting cities across North America…and the world!

This recent accolade from Design Rush is a feather in our cap. We’re proud of our team, their diligence, and their hard work. We’re proud to be among such great company on the Design Rush list of Top Canada Web Developers.

To learn more about our services, please call us toll-free at 1-888-262-6687.

For more information about Design Rush, visit their Design Rush Facebook page.

Inevitably, every client wants to know how long does SEO take to work.

Everyone wants instant gratification. We live in a time where nobody really wants to wait too long for anything. We’ve been conditioned to believe that faster often equates to better. We want instant food, instant miracles, instant success, and instant everything! But that’s not reality.

Let’s take food for instance. You can open up a can of soup, heat it up in the microwave and within seconds you can be eating your lunch. It’s delicious, quick, and provides you the sustenance you need to get through the next part of your day. Sort of. It’s also filled with salt and preservatives, and in many cases, the nutritional value can be lost or minimal.

Now, think of that homemade turkey soup you cooked right after Thanksgiving. You created a broth from the bones that you let simmer for hours in order to extract every ounce of natural flavor. You added in your fresh vegetables and herbs. It might have taken all day (not to mention the day it took to cook the actual Turkey) but the result was the perfect bowl of homemade soup that was chock-full of goodness and taste.

It took time, but it was worth it. The same can be said for Search Engine Optimization.

SEO Takes Time, But It’s Worth It

Almost every single client will ask the all-important question: how long does SEO take to work?

The industry-standard answer is 4-6 months…perhaps. You can find hundreds (or thousands) of articles on the Internet that agree with this consensus. And you can say that to every-single-client, but sometime within the first week or two, every client asks if it’s working yet.

Clients are excited. They’re nervous. They need to account for their spend. You’ll remind them that you ensured they’d start to see some results within 4-6 months, but at some point, they’ll begin to get impatient. It might not happen every time, but it happens enough. How long does SEO take to work will depend on a lot of variables.

Sometimes results can take a day, a year, or even more. It all depends on the goal, the key performance indicators (KPIs), the competition, the industry, and the ever-changing landscape of the Internet.

Let’s Determine What The Results Will Be!

Instead of providing the generic four-to-six months answer to the question “how long does SEO take to work,” we find it can be far more beneficial to outline what our anticipated results will be.

Key Performance Indicators – KPIs

KPIs are objective, tangible metrics that are used to measure the success of a campaign.

In the realm of SEO, there are several KPIs that can constitute successful results.

1. Growth in Organic Sessions – Tracking traffic from organic search is a measurable KPI. Growth can be slow going, as it does take time for pages and websites to make their way up the search engine results, especially in competitive industries. It is the objective that lies at the heart of any SEO campaign since more targeted traffic from the search engines is something that always excites clients.

2. Increases in Keyword Rankings – Back in the day, SEO companies would provide clients with spreadsheets outlining keyword results for targeted keywords. It was a metric the clients loved. But, with the growth of localized and individualized search results, it became more difficult to provide an accurate measure of keyword rankings. A website could be sitting at #1 for one user but #4 for someone else in a different location. Now, SEO companies might provide a more generalized average for keyword rankings.

Keyword ranking isn’t the be all, end all though. Going from number 50 to number 8 might not make a huge difference in traffic; however, going from number 8 to number 4 likely will. This is because most users will click on the first few results, but not wade too much further down the list.

3. Leads & Conversions – What good is all of this extra traffic if they are converting into leads? More and more companies are getting savvy with the results they expect to see, and leads, orders, and sales have become a valuable KPI for SEO campaigns. On average, the best results for a website come from organic traffic results. After all, this traffic is highly targeted for specific searches. If a person is searching for the best place to wash their car, it is likely to assume they are further down the path-to-purchase than a person who gets advertised to by a car-wash display ad or social media post.

4. Session Duration – Generally speaking, once you implement an SEO campaign, you will likely start to see an increase in session duration. This is because the quality of traffic is highly targeted, which means the user would likely be more genuinely interested and engaged in your website and information.

Targeted Traffic vs General Traffic

If you look at just numbers, one might think that having 10,000 visitors a day vs 5,000 visitors a day is a win. But, if the 10,000 visitors who are coming are more general in nature, is it really a win? They’re likely not spending as much time on the website, or they’re browsing without intent to purchase, contact, or convert. They take more effort to convert or bring back. So, if you can get 5,000 visitors who are specifically searching for one of your particular products or services, they’re more targeted. They’re likely more ready to convert or purchase. Those 5,000 visitors are more valuable than the 10,000 generalists.

How Long Does SEO Take to Work Depends on Tactics

Depending on the industry and the competition, an SEO professional will undertake a variety of tactics to achieve results. Think of it like growing a garden. Some plants, fruit, and vegetables take longer to bear fruit or flower than others. In addition, you can’t quite ever predict how long it will take before the tomatoes are ready to be picked.

An SEO plan that is really content-driven can take a lot of time; however, the results might come in spurts. The SEO professional will target a keyword, have a piece of content written and published, and depending on how competitive the keyword is, results may start coming within a week or longer. No one really knows how long it takes for SEO to work.  It could also take six months or more. In the meantime, with each new piece of content, site authority and ultimately results will start to build.

Budget Also Affects How Long SEO Takes to Work

Nobody wants to admit that the more you pay the better results you will get; however, budget equals time and resources.

How long does SEO take to work? Simply put, the more you put into it the more you should get out of it. Three team members spending six hours should see results faster than one team member sending two hours.

At the end of the day, SEO is not a quick-fix for a business that requires results immediately. It’s a long-term process that requires a strategy and if done properly, can provide long term results. SEO is a process where every step builds upon the one before it. Today’s results are likely built upon the effort from six months ago.

So, while you’ll likely find it takes four-to-six months to start seeing results, it isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. There are many types of SEO services that can be brought into play. Instead of offering a timeline for how long does SEO take to work, it can be more beneficial to offer education on the KPIs. That way, you can start celebrating the little wins along the way.

Please call our SEO experts at 1st on the List toll-free at 1-888-262-6687 to learn more about SEO or if you still have any questions.

For additional information on this topic, visit this informative article by Search Engine Journal.

Top Advertising Agency Clutch 2019

If you’re looking to get your company’s name to the top of the list, look no further than our seasoned group of SEO experts here at 1st on the List Promotion. Each of our core staff has over a decade of experience, having serviced hundreds of SEO clients in Canada and the US in a diverse range of industries and markets. Some firms today are outsourcing their SEO efforts, but our core focus has always been SEO, with all of the its complex trends and techniques. It isn’t an afterthought for us- it’s what we live and breathe for!

With that said we are very excited to announce that Clutch has named us as a Leader in Marketing & Advertising for Canadian firms in 2019.

We take great pride in this recognition as it has always been our firm’s goal to provide the best service for our wide range of clients.  Clutch included us as a top SEO services provider based on the strength of our core business practices, our outstanding customer relations, and our overall ability to deliver results.  Clutch is a B2B reviews platform that connects service providers with their potential clients in a quick and easy manner. Clutch has added value to our firm by collecting high quality, in-depth reviews from our previous clients and displaying them on our profile.

Here’s what some experiences that our previous clients have shared with Clutch:

“They are honest and deliver.” – CEO, Door Screen Company

“They have very sound strategies and produce real results.” – CEO, Specialty Hardware Distributor

“1st on the List Promotion delivered on all fronts.” – Digital Manager, Home Care Provider

We truly appreciate all the resources Clutch has provided us which includes two features on their sister sites: The Manifest and Visual Objects.  The Manifest has listed us under their list of the top SEO agencies in Canada, increasing the likelihood that firms in need of an SEO agency will find our firm’s website.  Visual Objects is an additional resource that has added our portfolio of work to their site, further increasing our reach as a firm and improving the chances that we win more organic leads. 

Overall, we cannot express enough how proud we are of our team here at 1st on the List Promotion and we are very excited to continue our success throughout 2019 as a Clutch Leader in Advertising & Marketing.  

When was the last time you sat down to determine your average cost per lead generation?

Do you ever question whether this is in line with other companies of your size, in your industry, or earning a similar revenue?

A recent study published by HubSpot surveyed over 350 companies in order to compile cost per lead data. Here are the numbers to use as your own cost per lead benchmark for 2017.

Average Cost Per Lead

The average cost per lead $198.

Average Cost Per Lead by Industry

IndustryAverage Cost Per Lead
IT & Services$370
Healthcare & Medical$286
 Financial Services$272
 Industrial & Manufacturing$235
 Media & Publishing$191
 Consumer Products$182
 Marketing Agencies$173
 Education$66
 Non-Profit$43

 

Average Cost Per Lead By Company Size

Company SizeAverage Cost Per Lead
 1,001+ Employees$349
 201 – 1,001 Employees$212
 51 – 200 Employees$180
 2 – 50 Employees$147

 

Average Cost Per Lead By Company Revenue

Annual RevenueAverage Cost Per Lead
 $500M +$429
 $10 – 500M$179
 $1 – 10M$185
 <$1M$166

 

Key Takeaways

  1. Large enterprise organizations with 1,000+ employees are paying the most per lead.
  2. In a similar trend, companies with large annual revenues (greater than $500M) are paying the most per lead.
  3. For companies with revenues less than $500M per year, the average cost per lead is fairly similar.

For the full study with data including number of leads, sales opportunities, and customers generated, please download for the study here.

If you are wondering how to increase your monthly leads without breaking the bank or are considering alternate marketing methods with lower average cost per leads, contact our SEO Experts by calling 1-888-262-6687.

So what did we learn about SEO in 2016 that we can carry over into the New Year and improve our SERP positioning? We learned numbers! Lots of numbers!

I think that the most interesting statistics this year (and even from previous years) center around mobile, voice search on mobile, and voice search through present and future home devices. And they’ll probably all be applicable to a greater extent as the year unfolds.

In this article, we will take what we have learned from the past year and share what we think are the most important SEO predictions for 2017 and beyond.

1. Mobile Search Dominates Desktop

According to Search Engine Watch, we know that 93% of encounters online begin with a search, and from a Search Engine Land article, we learned that 65% of those searches worldwide are done through Google.

Impact has told us that 80% of users on the Internet own a smartphone, and Smart Insights indicates that the same percentage of smartphones (80%) are used to search online.

Marketing Land suggested that 56% of traffic received by the top 10,000 US websites in 24 categories came from mobile. However, if we read that actual webpage prologue by SimilarWeb that produced the report, we find that it reads the “…leading 10,000 most mobile sites in the US in 2015.”

The report itself, however, loses the most mobile reference entirely, so there is some uncertainty as to whether just mobile-friendly sites were included in the report, or mobile and desktop sites were the ones for which the stats were presented.

What does all of this mean for search in 2017? There will be some distinct changes and unique approaches developed to provide mobile-search-worthy content in 2017. SEO will not only have to address mobile’s consumption of quick, complete responses to specific questions (whether by voice or text), and produce more content pages optimized for mobile; it will also have to reflect the growing needs of the voice-only market created by home devices.

2. Voice Search Over Text Search

In a May of 2016 article, Search Engine Land cited Google indicating that 20% of mobile queries were voice searches. Now that Google has prioritized Mobile over Desktop, our takeaway should be that we can expect that number of voice queries from mobile to continue to increase significantly.

The anticipated high adoption rates of home devices such as Google Home, Amazon Echo, and Windows’ upcoming device, will all contribute to the growth of voice search.

As discussed in Voice Activated SEO Strategy for Google Home Device, Google is expected to ship nearly 3 million voice-activated speaker devices in 2017. According to Geek Wire, Amazon has already sold 5 million Echo units. That is at least 8 million reasons to focus more intently on voice searches.

The argument for voice-activated searches will direct the purposeful route of website content toward more specifically-tailored responses to voice searches from 2 very different devices. Those responses will need to be capable of serving their two new online masters (mobile and home assistant) while maintaining desktop traffic. Do any other SEO writers feel like a sideshow juggler already?

Even though both user groups could be searching for similar content, determining user intention based on separate schemes for each style of device will become extremely important, depending on the way voice search tactics by users evolve over time for each group.

SEO companies will need to develop ways to uniquely satisfy the needs of each group of device users without risking duplicate content issues that could be detrimental to their overall SERP strategies (mobile, home, and desktop) as a whole. Target strategies for keywords will no doubt appear somewhat disjointed initially.

It wouldn’t surprise me if as many as 3 different plans evolved for the 3 disparate search methods:

  • Mobile Voice
  • Home Assistant Voice
  • Desktop

3. Apps (plus or minus) Mobile-Friendly Websites?

Smart Insights has quoted Yahoo! Flurry stats, indicating that apps are used predominantly on mobile devices, with 90% of time on a mobile device being spent on an app, as opposed to using a browser such as Chrome (only 4%).

For some companies, I would argue that an app offers some great potential. But, for companies with a consistently changing landscape of information, articles, blogs, and other forms of data not conducive to being presented in app form, their websites will remain as go-to places for individuals with an interest in their products, services, or culture.

Such sites will still require ongoing SEO attention, but how that attention might translate into SEO planning will undoubtedly take a step sideways as more prominent mobile and voice usage begins to nudge desktop to one side until, dare we even think it, we’ve evolved into a totally mobile and voice driven world?

4. Time to Get Hyped About HTTPS

According to Search Engine Journal, as of February 1, 2017, Google has warned that Chrome will mark sites as unsecure if they have forms that collect information such as personal information, credit card information, or password information, and the site does not utilize HTTPS.

Even if only one page collects information insecurely, the entire site will be marked as unsecure, and Chrome users will be unable to access it without clicking through against Chrome’s warnings. Without HTTPS, most websites are open to man-in-the-middle attacks, through which sensitive information can easily be collected. Considering that 55% of desktop and mobile traffic is searched through Chrome, this is a significant wake-up call for website owners.

In February of 2014, I did some research on my own regarding the security of 86 major corporate oil company websites through which I was attempting to submit job applications at the time. Only 13% of these websites were attempting to collect my personal information securely through their own domain. 17% were attempting to collect my information through unsecured pages on the company domain. And probably the most shocking stat was that 23% of these companies were attempting to collect my personal data through unsecured third party domains.

While Google’s move on HTTPS is going to create some pain points for companies ill-prepared for the transition, I applaud the move. It’s time that major companies and corporations started taking more responsibility for safely handling our personal data.

If your company hasn’t done so already, start taking measures NOW to secure your domain before February 1. For more information on the importance of HTTPS, read my other blog article What Does it Take to Rank #1 on Google?

5. Mobile-Friendly Sites and Soft Selling

We’ve all visited those sites. You know the ones. You arrive on your mobile device and have to start zooming in and scrolling from side to side just to read the content. The links are so small, and so close together, that you inevitably click on the wrong link, and close your browser in frustration when the page is only half loaded.

Impact has written that Google indicated 61% of visitors won’t return to your site if they had trouble gaining access to it on mobile, claiming that 40% will visit the site of a competitor instead. CMS Report states that 57% of users won’t recommend your business if your mobile site is poorly designed.

And, a whopping 87% of purchasers, according to Search Engine Watch, indicate that online content has an influence over their decisions to purchase, with 43% disliking a hard sell or conspicuous advertising.

What Does It All Mean?

So what does all of this mean for 2017? Mobile, Home Assistants, HTTPS, and more mobile-friendly websites are probably going to be some of the most important aspects of SEO to pursue this year.

How user intent is defined, particularly where voice search is concerned will likely be one of the most important, ongoing discussions in 2017, making it worthy of its own developmental approaches and evolving strategies.

For an even scarier reminder of how things change so quickly online, visit Live Internet Stats and become mesmerized by their stunning visuals.

If you want to know more about any SEO strategies for 2017, contact 1st on the List today at 1-888-262-6687. Or drop us an email.

A new study by Havas Worldwide gives us some insight into the new roles that companies are expected to play beyond their pure corporate function. In one portion of the survey, participants were asked to mark the five core values they think are most important for brands to embody.

Here are the top 10 highest rated core values:

#10 – Vision (17%)
Having a clear direction to achieve or accomplish long term goals.

#9 – Socially active (19%)
Engaging with the affairs and well-being of society and contributing to it.

#8 – Simplicity (19%)
Being easy to understand, plain, or natural.

#7 – Originality (31%)
Having the ability to think independently and creatively, presenting novel or unusual ideas.

#6 – Fairness (32%)
Abstaining from discrimination, bias, or injustice.

#5 – Authenticity (33%)
Being genuinely real and truthful about commitments, attributes, and intentions.

#4 – Innovation (41%)
Improving upon or introducing altogether new methods, ideas, products, or services that better serve your customers’ needs.

#3- Honesty/ Transparency (56%)
Being truthful, upright, fair, moral, ethical, and possessing integrity.

#2 – Reliability/ Durability (57%)
Offering a dependable product or service that consistently performs.

#1 – Quality (69%)
Meeting your customers’ expectations as closely as possible with your product or service, as perceived by the customer.

How Do You Deliver on These Values?

  • Ask for customer feedback that can help you gain insight into how your customers actually view your company. Do they often complain of products not working? Or projects not being completed on time? These could be signs of poor quality or unreliability.
  • Review your company’s role in your local community and the global community. This study also uncovered that 70% of people agree it is important for companies to drive social change. A majority also think their favorite companies and brands should play a bigger role in their local community.
  • Consumers have continuously higher expectations of your company and brand. Are you meeting those expectations?
  • Review your company’s core values and modify if needed so that they match consumers’ changing expectations of your company and your brand.

How Does Your Website Deliver on These Values?

Your website visitors are also looking for these values. For example:

  • Quality
    • Is the website easy to navigate?
    • Is content easy to read?
    • Are there spelling mistakes?
    • Do you have outdated products or services?
  • Reliable
    • Do all your pages work?
    • Do pages load quickly?
    • Is the website usable on a mobile device?
  • Authentic
    • Do you come across as real people with personality, or are you just a corporation?
    • Is there the human, personal touch through pictures and content?

If it is time for a website redesign or some new content development, give our web designers and SEO content writers a call at 1-888-262-6687. We’d be pleased to help make your website

I know that you want to see results from your website project.  And I know it can be disappointing when you don’t start getting results soon after you have launched the website.  It is natural to want to give up on the whole idea and conclude, “You can’t get leads for your business from the Internet”.

That’s fair, because you really should expect results from any advertising.  If it doesn’t work, you should stop using that promotion.

But there is another aspect of Internet marketing that you should consider.

I’m not trying to convince you of anything but, as a businessman, I know you have been asking yourself one question since the day you started and will continue to ask the same question for as long as you are in business.  I chose to be in this business with the same question in my mind.

Every businessman is always asking:  “How can I grow my business?”

When you boil it down, there are only two options:

  1. Referrals – When you start out you don’t have much of a budget so you somehow find a few clients to get started with, treat your clients like gold, and hope they will recommend their friends and family to help you grow.
  2. Advertising – At some point, every business person finds that referrals don’t grow the business fast enough and there are never really enough referrals to make a good living.

After struggling to make a living for a while, every businessperson turns to advertising to try to achieve the success they see others achieving in the same business.

Advertising sounds like a great idea, but pretty quickly you find out that it is easy to blow away thousands of dollars with little or nothing to show for it.

Even the cheapest of advertising can cost $1,000 to $2,000, with no guarantee of return.  In most cases, even after you spend the money you may never see any results.

I have clients in the roofing and driveway paving business that spend $20,000 to $30,000 at a time on a flyer campaign, four or five times a year to get a handful of new clients each time.  I asked them “How much do you spend, on average, to get a client?”

The answer was, “Well, over $500 … You never know if you will get any clients even after all the money has been spent.” 

Every single business person is in the same situation.  They spend a bunch of money and “hope” they will get clients.  Sometimes it works, many times it doesn’t.

This is where the Internet comes in.

In a scenario where every little magazine and promotional flyer requires a minimum of $500 to $2,500 with no promise of returns, what can a small businessperson do to grow his or her business without going broke?

Until the Internet came around, there was never a good answer to this question.

On the Internet, you can spend $500 to $1,000 per month and you will attract qualified prospects to view your proposition.

Every month that you promote your business online, you get more and more qualified prospects viewing your business.  Some of these people start picking up the phone and calling you.  Your business grows with new clients from the Internet and from the referrals they send you.

On the Internet, the longer you continue to promote, the more exposure you get for the same small budget of $500 to $1000 per month.

There is no other advertising medium that builds and builds your reach, the longer you keep advertising like SEO can.

If you decide to stop promoting your website, you will still face the same question, “How do I grow my business?”  You will have the same options you always did:  spend, spend, spend on advertising that produces little or no results.

After seeing and living through many different marketing programs, my conclusion is this:

SEO is by far the cheapest way to promote your business and get new clients.

When I start promoting a website, there is usually little or no traffic.  After a two or three months they start getting several hundred qualified prospects coming to their website every month. And frankly, this is just the beginning.

In the next six months the traffic builds and builds with the plan I implement.

I have a client where last month he got four people who filled out his website’s contact form.  I bet a few people phoned him as well, but they didn’t mention his website.  I also bet a few people saw where he was on the map on his website and stopped in without telling him they saw his address on the website.

How many clients will it take for you to break even with spending $500 to $1,000 per month?

If you got 10 new clients in the next 12 months would that cover your advertising expenses and more?  In my opinion you should be able to get 10+ new clients every month once the online marketing campaign matures.

Over time, a properly SEO’d website gains “Equity”.  It produces more and more business for you.

As you consider your options for “How do I grow my business?” I hope you will keep these points in mind.

I can help your business grow… slowly at first, and then faster and faster and faster as your website builds “Equity”.

If you feel that you want to work with me and 1st on the List, I would be happy to evaluate your situation.  If it looks like we can do something for you, we’ll let you know.  For some businesses Internet marketing on its own is just not enough. You may have to combine Internet marketing with other techniques to get good results.

The first evaluation is free.  Most people get a lot of value from the investigation we do initially.  Give us a call today at 1-888-262-6687 and let’s get your business growing!